Conyers Announces He’s Leaving Congress, Endorses Son as Successor

(CN) – Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., facing several allegations of sexual harassment, announced Tuesday that he is leaving Congress and endorsed his son to replace him.

“I am retiring today,” Conyers, 88, told a Detroit radio station. “And I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support – the incredible, undiminished support I’ve received across the years from my supporters, not only in my district but across the country as well.”

Conyers called into the Mildred Gaddis radio show in Detroit on Tuesday morning from an undisclosed hospital and answered series of friendly questions before he told the host that he would endorse his son John Conyers III to succeed him. After the interview, his letter of resignation was read on the floor of Congress.

Conyers told Gaddis that his critics could not deny his legacy.

“Absolutely not. My legacy can’t be comprimised or diminished in anyway by what wer’re going through now,” Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”

Conyers denied the sexual harassment allegations.

“Congressman, as you exit this interview do you still maintain that the allegations that have been leveled against you are false?” Gaddis asked.

“Whatever they are, they are not accurate or they are not true,” Conyers said. “I can’t explain where they came from.”

The politician’s endorsement comes after his nephew and state senator Ian Conyers, 29, told the New York Times that his great-uncle was retiring and that he plans to run for the Detroit area seat.

“His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health,” Conyers said, according to the New York Times.

Conyers, who was first elected in 1964, easily won re-election last year in the heavily-Democratic 13th Congressional District. But following mounting allegations of sexual harassment leveled by former staffers, he has faced growing calls to resign from colleagues in the House, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

John Conyers returned to Detroit from Washington last week and was hospitalized on Wednesday after complaining that he felt light-headed.

The House Ethics Committee is reviewing allegations of harassment against John Conyers.

On Monday, a woman who said she worked for him for more than a decade said he slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while she was sitting next to him in the front row of a church.

Elisa Grubbs made the allegation in an affidavit released late Monday by her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Grubbs is the cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown, who reached a confidential settlement with Conyers over sexual harassment allegations, but broke the confidentiality agreement to speak publicly last week.

Bloom posted Grubbs’ affidavit on Twitter and confirmed to The Associated Press that it was genuine.

Grubbs’ affidavit says that she worked for Conyers in various roles from approximately 2001 to about 2013.

“Rep. Conyers slid his hand up my skirt and rubbed my thighs while I was sitting next to him in the front row of a church,” Grubbs said. “I was startled and sprang to my feet and exclaimed, ‘He just ran his hand up my thigh!’ Other staffers witnessed the event.”

She also said that she saw Conyers touching and stroking the legs and buttocks of Brown and other female staffers on “multiple occasions.”

Grubbs said witnessing such harassment “was a regular part of life while working in the office of Rep. Conyers.”

John Conyers’ attorney, Arnold Reed, told the Detroit Free Press that the allegations by Grubbs are “another instance of tomfoolery from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein’s attorney.”

Bloom previously represented Hollywood executive Weinstein, who is accused of sexual misconduct by a number of women. She quit Weinstein’s team after the allegations became public and now represents sexual harassment victims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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